Changes in Cultural Consumption: Ethnographic Collections in Wikipedia
Cultural Trends, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2016
17 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2016
Visits to museums have been studied as hedonic and utilitarian forms of cultural consumption, though limited attention has been given to the access of museum collections online. We perform a unique historic analysis of the visibility of collections in a museum of ethnographic collections and compare 100 years of onsite visits to 5 years online visits. We find two main results: first, access to collections increased substantially online. From a selection of objects available both onsite and online, access grew from an average of 156,000 onsite visits per year to over 1.5 million views online per year. Onsite, the museum received 15.5 million visits in a span of a century while online, collections were viewed 7.9 million times in only the last 5 years. Second, we find a difference in consumer preference for type of object, favouring 3D onsite and 2D online (photographs of objects, particularly when showing them being used). Results support understanding of online heritage consumption and emerging dynamics, particularly outside of an institutional environment, such as Wikipedia.
Keywords: heritage consumption, museums, digital heritage, access, exhibition history, wikipedia
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